Authorguy's Blog

Joys of pantsing

Posted on: July 18, 2010


One of the benefits of being a pantser is the joy of discovery, that occasional event when you turn around and find something you never thought of but realize you can’t do without.  A character waiting to be noticed, or a bit of history that you the author never knew about.  I’ve had both happen to me.   I remember when I was writing Off the Map, I was up half the night with all the ideas floating around, even the title, but that was a real woman I was writing about, a real life full of raw material.

When I was writing St. Martin’s Moon I discovered many of my characters (actually, I discovered all of them, that’s what I do), but one stands out, the Communications Officer, Candace.  I discovered her when Marquand, the hero, just turned around and there she was, shining red hair and alpha as hell. I had no idea what I was supposed to do with her, but that was OK, because she and Marquand both knew what they wanted. 

Just yesterday another character, in my WIP Tales of Uncle, also revealed himself to be a member of a religious sect called Upwellers.  Further, he brought news that the city of Querd, introduced in my previous novel A Warrior Made, had pretty much self-destructed, while the Upweller sect was in disarray and many believed that the end of the world was near.  And it was all the fault of my heroes.  Now I have to figure out what they’ll do about it, if they do anything about it.

Then today, as I’m driving down the road, I had some further insights into where the story wants to go.  The whole ending scenario was revealed to me, not only the Upweller’s destiny, but the golden throne, the Stone King, the Barren Birth.  It’s just the most wonderful feeling in the world when so many little parts suddenly make sense like that.

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1 Response to "Joys of pantsing"

I find if I plan things too much I get bored and don’t finish them. I like a sense of what kind of story I’m writing, a feel for the overall arc, but none of the details. Often I’ll get to the end of a scene with no idea what’s going to happen next, and then wander round waiting for the inspiraiton to come. It suits me, and I work when the ideas are flowing, and not because I feel I ought to. Being too workish kills the spirit of the thing. I did not take up writing in order to have a 9-5 workdaty structure, after all!

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